Tuesday Dispatch #2: lucky dip flying, retro-fitting cars and the colour blue

Ross Hall

October 19, 2021
(Updated on October 28, 2021)

Black and white photograph of a pair of glasses left on a concrete block

We’re gearing up for a general election at the end of the month. Political choices aside, it’s certain by November Japan will have a new economic direction. Abenomics has had its day.

What this new economics will look like is anyone’s guess. The incumbent LDP hasn’t been entirely forthcoming on details, while opposition parties are throwing around promises like an opposition hoping it will lose.

Japan has stagnated for over a decade. Talk about new economic miracles and unleashing growth haven’t come to anything. Things have bubbled along in a “we’re sort of OK” kind of way. Complacency has set in.

I hope there is some radical change. I’m seeing a lot of potential among the startups I’m tracking. Something’s holding them back. Whether that’s cultural, structural or economic remains to be seen.

Either way, come November we should have a better picture of where things are heading next.


Image above: a forgotten pair of glasses await their owner’s return.

“Lucky dip” holiday passes from Peach

Airlines everywhere are working out how to get people back into their aircraft. I think Peach might have the best idea yet.

It combines the thrill of a lucky dip with a national obsession for small plastic balls. Simply hand over ¥20,000, pop the capsule open and spend a month jetting to and from whatever destination you’ve “won”.

Bizarre it might be, but the destinations seem to be holiday favourites.

It could work…

A remorseful Perez Hilton?

Perez Hilton was one of the first “celebrity journalists”. His “news” often made the regular news for their outrageous, lude and offensive content. It appears the years have mellowed Hilton, and he’s become a more reflective character, aware of the impact he’s had and maybe a little resourceful. Press Gazette caught up with him for an insightful interview.

Subbed, dubbed and lost in translation.

Hit Korean drama Squid Game has raised questions about how foreign language media is translated. I wrote a brief piece about my experience of watching Ghost in the Shell with subtitles, and how it transformed both film and character.

Black and white photograph of the signal tower in Kobe Harborland against a cloudy sky with the flags signalling Kobe Wishes you a Safe Voyage
The signal tower at Harborland. The flags read: Kobe wishes you a safe voyage.

Mind your manners on the Tokyo Metro

Japan’s obsession with manners extends to the railways. Over the years, various posters have appeared to encourage behaviour that makes travel comfortable and efficient for everyone. Azarel Chamorro on LinkedIn offers a few past posters to enjoy.

Vietnam: fastest growing ASEAN-5 economy

Economies have been waking up.  Analysts are busy guessing who’s going to get back to 2019 when.  Vietnam weathered the Covid storm better than some, and it looks like it could be the first of the ASEAN-5 economies to get there.

Saigon awakes

Still in Vietnam, we head over to Saigon. Photographer Tim Phung has been out on the streets capturing people going about their business.

Doing business in China is hard. Ask Everlane

Another Western brand has found China too much like hard work. This time Everlane , the “American Uniqlo” is bailing out. Their sustainability message hasn’t hit home with Chinese consumers.

If the government won’t help, do it anyway

Despite the protestations and procrastination of the Morrison Government, Australia could hit 100% renewable power generation by 2035. I’m getting the feeling the Government there is now seen as a barrier to be worked around.

Could existing cars become the BEVs of the future?

As Governments ban fossil fuel powered cars, the vehicles we see today will slowly die out. It seems an unfitting end for machines that are perfectly serviceable, save for their beating hearts.

What if we could keep these boxes on the road without them spewing out their filth? Could there be a market to retrofit existing vehicles with electric motors? It’s already happening in the classic car market, where prestigious brands regularly receive EV transplants.

My view is simple: upgrading an existing lump of metal is preferable to throwing more pollution into the air so I can have a shiny new Nissan LEAF.

Photograph of a brightly lit street in Osaka, Japan at night with the Tsutenkaku tower illuminated as the focal point
Tsutenkaku, Osaka at night.

Is the UK risking everything to sell your data?

The United Kingdom is planning a wholesale rewriting of data protection laws. Dubbed “UK GDPR” by some, it seems the aim is to create a market for personal data under the guise of being free of EU Data Protection Regulation.

Not everyone is happy.

Not least those whose businesses rely on data exchanges with the EU and other countries where selling, sharing and leasing personal data is banned without explicit consent. Some fear the UK’s stance could cost it dearly as it becomes a global outlier in Data Protection.

And finally…

Ever wondered why the sky is blue? It appears the colour “blue” is one of the last to be named in many languages.

I'm Ross, a digital editorial designer and content creator from the UK now living in Japan. I help growing companies plan, source, produce and promote a range of content. Find out more

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